The Bell in the Silence

The Second Week in Lent, Year B

AnimFireStarter

“You can’t take it with you.” This saying means that nothing we have on earth goes with us into heaven when we die. I had a very funny uncle that requested to have his checkbook buried with him when he died: “Just in case you CAN take it with you!”

One thing about Jesus: he is very clear and direct when he speaks about the things of heaven and those of earth. Today’s reading is especially strong, inviting us to think very deep. His words ring like a bell in the silence.

When we give someone we love a gift from the heart, the joy and love we receive in return is greater than the gift itself. Take this all the way to God. We when give our lives in love and service of Jesus, the love that God has for us flows back into us with great energy. May the words of Jesus ring just like a bell in the silence; O how we listen!

Mark 8:31-38

Suggested Bible Breath:  “No to self; yes to the cross”   v. 34
Touch to learn more…


Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels, in Year B, the Gospel of Mark.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion.  An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

Holy to the Lord

AnimFireStarter

You’ll need your imagination working hard to turn the description of the special clothes of Aaron and his sons into a picture. Notice how elaborate was the special clothing called. What color! The bells were meant to alert those outside of the special worship area called “The Holy of Holies” that the priest had a special experience of God.  In the thirteenth century, Zohar, a famous rabbi, added the idea that a rope was tied about the priest so that if he fainted or died, he could be dragged out!

I love the flower ornament in front of the turban which was engraved with, “Holy to the Lord.” Imagine these special words attached to your forehead. It’s like a name tag that tell others something special about you.

We are indeed holy by God’s grace. May all that you and I do express this holiness to others so that they too can find how good and holy God is.

Exodus 28:31-38

Suggested Bible Breath:  “To be holy in Your sight.”   v. 36
Touch to learn more…


Saturdays are dedicated to the Torah Portions
read along with synagogues throughout the world.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion.  An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

 

 

Rivers of Living Water

AnimFireStarter

Strife, arguments and hatred for Jesus rose up from most of the religious leaders. His fame brought jealousy and anger for those in authority, afraid that people would follow Jesus and let go of all the laws that bound the people like ropes tied about themselves.

Jesus often walked with the crowds of people singing as they made their way to Jerusalem three times a year. One of these festivals was called “Tabernacles” or “Booths,” recalling the time when our Hebrew ancestors built tents in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land. This time, all kinds of suspicions from some, and faith in Jesus from others, go back and forth in this chapter.

However, watch what Jesus says. The last day of the festival is called “Rejoicing in the Torah.” The word “Torah” means God’s love pouring down like rain. They found this image just perfect for praying for rain. Keep this in mind when you read toward the end of this chapter from verse 32. Imagine: rivers of living water springing up from within us!

John 7:37-46

Suggested Bible Breath:  “Welling up: living water”   v. 38
Touch to learn more…


Fridays are dedicated to the Gospels.
During Lent and Easter, we read the Gospel of John.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion.  An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

The Bungee Cord of Hope

AnimFireStarter

Some people just love doing scary things like bungee jumping. Down they go hoping that the bungee cord, stretched to its limit, will pull the person back upward to high ground.

St. Paul says in verse 5 that the hope of heaven is what stirs faith and love. The effect of all this spiritual energy is to have it spread to others. They catch on by the joy we experience in Christ’s promise. St. Paul is a great source of inspiration; read each verse as though you are rising higher and higher to a space as though you are already in heaven.

Verses 15 to 20 are like a beautiful hymn that gathers the essence of who we are in Christ with words that are simply astounding. Read them slowly, pausing where you find your heart especially touched by grace.

Colossians 1:1-20


Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament except the Gospels.
In the season of Lent this year ,
we read St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians 1 Corinthians 11:23–13:13.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion.  An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

We’ve Arrived!

AnimFireStarter

When I was a boy, we used to travel with my Mom, Dad and two older brothers to a very lovely town by the shore in New Jersey called Spring Lake.  The boundaries of the town were the ocean, of course, on one side, and railroad tracks on the other.  There we were, crouched in the back seat.  As we approached the railroad tracks we used to slowly say, “We are now in…SPRING LAKE!  Happy days of vacation were before us.

Our happiness was just a little bit like the joy of Jewish people walking to Jerusalem. They did this three times a year for the Jewish festivals of Tabernacles, Passover and Pentecost. They sang along the way. These “Songs on the Journey” are in the Psalms.  We read five of these each year in Lent on Wednesdays.

The joy of the journey increased as the people saw the Temple shining in the sun.  With eyes straight ahead, they shouted when they crossed into the great city: “We’ve arrived! We are in Jerusalem!”  Let’s join them and feel their love for God

Psalm 122


Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms.
During Lent across the three-year cycle,
we read the “Songs on the Journey,” Psalms 120-134.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion. An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

How Come There’s Suffering?

AnimFireStarter

Jeremiah and Job found themselves being so hurt by others. For Job, it was his so-called friends; they were “Know-It-Alls.” When terrible suffering came upon Job, they blamed him. “You must have done something wrong and you are being punished.” Instead of giving him understanding, love and simply the silence of listening, they came against him with cruel words of blame.

The Book of Job is all about trying to find out the meaning of suffering and evil. Long speeches present their various opinions. The conversations forgot something that Adam and Eve were warned about in the beginning of creation. “Don’t eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; if you do, you’ll die.” On Tuesdays in Lent, we’ll be reading a round of conversations. Look for the images and the poetry in the book; these make the book beautiful.

To get a feel for what’s going on, I suggest that you read the beginning chapters. When we get to Holy Week, we’ll tune into God speaking. Let’s wait and see what that will be like!

Job 15:1-16


Tuesdays are dedicated to the Writings in the Hebrew Scriptures, those books with the exception of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible)
the Prophets and the Psalms.
In the season of Lent, we read from the Book of Job.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion. An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick

Joy in Living the Truth

AnimFireStarter

Have you ever been laughed at for telling the truth? Often people just like to huddle together, trying to convince themselves that a lie is the truth.

Jeremiah is the prophet who will be with us on Mondays in Lent. He found out how hard it was to do what God wants and to proclaim that God wanted his people to turn from evil and follow God’s ways. He warned the people that some very hard times were coming their way because they were so disobedient. The people laughed at him and hated him. He was persecuted, put in prison, feeling lonely and discouraged. He cried out: “I’m not going to tell the truth about God anymore!” Ah, but then he felt what it would be like not to follow God; it felt like fire in his heart and in his bones.

Living the truth about God may be very hard at times. However, when it comes to saying or living a lie, there’s no suffering like that. Let’s follow God and find joy welling up inside us.

 

Jeremiah 20:7-13


Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets
In the season of Lent, we read from the prophet Jeremiah.


This is a sample of a new version of The Bible Through the Seasons as a daily family devotion. An ebook is planned. I’ll keep you posted! –Pastor Nick